What to pack for Paris in winter © Dan Robert

What to pack for Paris in winter

Understated elegance, minimalism and lots of lots of black, but what else do you need to fit in with the locals?

Selecting your wardrobe for a winter jaunt to Paris is a crucial part of the planning rigmarole. Parisian women are renowned for their effortless chic style and cool approach to fashion and to be mistaken for a French woman while browsing the Champs-Élysées, well, compliments don’t come much better than that.

So where do you start and what should you pack? We have selected four different Parisian looks to inspire your capsule wardrobe, starting with a Parisian staple and base for any outfit - black.

Choose black as your base...
You will never look out of place in Paris in black and whatever your style, you can give black your very own twist. For a cool, cutting-edge urban elegance, give your black ensemble a luxe rock-chic vibe. Cropped black pants are a must for any Paris capsule wardrobe as they can be dressed up or down and a black biker jacket will add that all-important tough-luxe finish. Patterned blouses are great mix and match options and a pair of versatile metallic flats both comfortable and stylish. For the ultimate rock-star attitude, don a fedora hat and hold your head high. 

blackClockwise from left: model: Chloé FW15, hat: Eugenia Kim, jacket: Alexander McQueen, bag: Chloé, shoes, Jimmy Choo, trousers: Stella McCartney, blouse: Anna Sui

Layer up...
In a cold climate such as Paris, layers are key and as long as you choose luxe and minimal fabrics and designs, they will look beautifully elegant, not brash and bulky. Cashmere and wool fine knits are perfect, as they are lightweight and snug to layer. The polo neck is making a big impact this season and is the ideal pairing with an elegant cape coat. Camel and biscuit shades will bring a sophisticated aesthetic to black, as will grey, cream and other subtle shades and don’t be afraid of leather – it can look beautifully elegant when worn with sophisticated layers. The cherry on the layer cake has to be a scarf. Pack everything from chunky knit snoods to colourful cashmere and patterned silk scarves, for both extra warmth and added style points.

 THIS-ONE-layerClockwise from left: model: Carolina Herrera, cape: Agnona, jumper: Chloé, skirt: The Row, bag: Clare V, boots: Maison Margiela, scarf: Stella McCartney

Go wide and oversized...
A wear-with-everything over coat is a must for winter in Paris, as more often than not this is all people see. There are coats galore to choose from, from the classic camel overcoat to the more adventurous statement coats in bold prints, patters and colours. There is something about oversized coats this season that screams laidback Parisian style and particularly when worn with tailored wide legged trousers. For a chic French flair, team your trousers with a long tunic or of course blouses, sweaters and chunky knits are equally as wearable. To save your hems from the perils of winter weather, forget the flats - a pair of chunky heels are a must.

wide-CClockwise from left: Model: Mulberry, coat: Chalayan, scarf: Nicholas Kirkwood, top: Adam Lippes, trousers: Stella McCartney, shoes: Nicholas Kirkwood, bag: Marni

Keep your eveningwear effortless...
By night, Parisian women up the elegance but in a very subtle manner and with a definitive, less is more approach. Pare down a sequined mini dress with a sophisticated woolen wrap, or pep up a simple cigarette pant and white blouse combo with a lush velvet blazer. Black is the ultimate choice for the evening, surprise surprise, and embellishments and metallic accents give black an elegant evening edge. Throw on a pair of glam, caged heels and even the most subdued of evening ensembles will enjoy a much deserved after dark injection.

eveningClockwise from left: Model: Zadig & Voltaire, dress: Saint Laurent, cape: Roland Mouret, heels: Alaia, clutch-bag: Miu Miu, collar: Marni